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Book Club Discussion of Erik Larson's 'Is... Education. (2005) Book club discussion of Erik Larson's 'Isaac's Storm.'

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Galveston 22, Isaac Cline 13, Us 9, Mexico 5, Erik Larsen 4, Seattle 4, The City 3, Issac Cline 3, Bertha 2, Ins 2, Mel Brooks 2, Sa 2, Li 2, Dhaka 2, Manhattan 2, Florida 2, Africa 2, New England 2, Boston 2, Stultz 1,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Book Club Discussion of Erik Larson's 'Is...  Education.   
   (2005) Book club discussion of Erik Larson's 'Isaac's Storm.'  

    September 9, 2012
    6:00 - 6:59pm EDT  

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country. the unemployment rate was worse than any other country. the population growth and ecological devastation that occurred as result is worse than anywhere else in the country. so the way we represent the last from today in huron and, i mean, i made the argument, agree with it or not, but the unholy alliance of real estate speculation early on in the expansion of the west. ..
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lives and destroying 3700 buildings. erik larsen describes the hurricane's aftermath and tells the story of scientists and meteorologist issac cline who long predicted that a hurricane could never strike a texas city. this is about an hour and fiveek minutes. >> thank you very much.ning, yood evening to all of you. thanks for joining us. 3 i see familiar faces back therel i just want to say a little footnote of warning. m a bit sleep-deprived. the weather has this funny way about it. it goes 24/7 and never really gives us a break, so as a
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forecaster, when you have to the weather has a funny way about it.m. show, ou h it goes 24/7.ch as a forecaster, when we have ts cover storms and forecasts we have to do a 5 a.m. show you have to get up really early which makes things really challenging. anyway, months ago, i decided t. read "isaac's storm," erik larsen's book, it is a fabulous, fabulous read. it was a classic tale of manaccn versus nature. the book is amazingly detailed, yet remarkably historic accountu of rrthe worst national disaster in u.s. history, that of courset is they, w galveston hurricane f 1900. life america at theoa turn of the century and the destruction of the city which du was at the time the jewel of th, south.who joi us it was new york city to be ofe a the gulf coast. he meticulously documented thetl stories, the author that strength us here today brings t0 life and human drama and survival of the hurricane thate8
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slammed into galveston almost 100 years ago today, actuallyfos 400 years ago coming up on september 8th. the answer given that it is the 100 evers rate coming up, this is a great time for us to look back on the tragedy that unfolded, and the nonfiction yu account of erik larsen. now before i introduce his work and how he went aboutanatmy o researching this nonfiction work, i want to take a few minutes to discuss hurricanes,an the anatomy of hurricanes, howhw we go about tracking ofright afd forecasting and i also want to step back inal time to actually show some footage the was taken right after the damage of the galveston hurricane is actuallyc taken by thoomas edison, who is oneth of the first as we capturd the devastation that occurred id galveston.ualified to gi for those ofve you that live in the boston area, you know that there are lots o if meteorologi who are qualified to give the stock andr hurricanes, but i wae orecifically selected for a very
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important reason. it's because here at wordsworth i think i'd singlehandedly madeo "isaac's storm" one of the tokpe books.as i came in over and over againfol and defeated it off the shelves. i bought the book for myfriendsi meteorologistr students,d the purchased the book as gifts for my colleagues as well as friendf for birthdays, and then last bu not least i belong to a book 1 club, and it is a group of women who live mostly went to college with non-scientists. we read books like "the fpbthead," and i got them to read "isaac's storm," and they're here tay, li and read "isaac's storm" and they are here to the ladies and gentlemen.ihis [applause]r and they love the book.before? so, that is my spiel. so, who in this room has beent impacted in some way by acal hurricane before?
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anyone?y wa ta does anybody know this past decade we have had topped four that have made landfall in southern new england. does anyone know what thate means? 85.southe in 1991. here's how it goes. this past september the tropica stormt makes landfall in southen new england. back in 1996 we had with bertha that can up the coast, dumped a little bit of rain and wind damage edouard which is a right hande d ooke just south of the islands t in september of 1996.d at the does anybody remember that? if you have been to cape cod yoe probably got stuck in traffic that takes about five hours to evacuate the island and reva ofe wind damage and tumbled ofndfalr rainfall, but was hurricane bobd that of recent memory was theion hurricane that made the fall, i7 was category two at the time.
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it did 1.5 million in damage ano actually killed 17 people. tow, looking back at the hurricane records from that day back to 1886 in the last decadeb 1995 to 1999 it is the singlerir most active hurricane periodicaa since record that goes back to the 1800's. 41 hurricanes, 21 of them wereur major hurricanes. forecast or specialist but i dos read the studies and do the analysis but the hurricane researcher said focus their lives on studying and analyzing this war have found there is large-scale circulation and the oceans that are probably driviny what we would see as fluctuation in the frequency and intensity of hurrithcanes. ehis means every 30 years or sow we got into a period of timeot m when we get a lot of hurricanes and a lot of them seem to be0'sy
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intense. for those of you are a bit older in the crowd i will say that in the fifties if you remember was also a very active hurricane period. does anybody remember the names of the hurricanes that we came through? you've got it.comeough the diane. o one more. that connie.ade we had four major hurricanes come through the area coming ana so we now are in again that thee cable time of high frequency h coming and we have a hurricaneie that we will talk about in justu a moment that has remarkablest t similarities to the galvestonand hurricane ike least for the time being.s you peru cancer the largest and moso powerful on earth. they often span or stretch across 300 miles. nes storms as you probably knowa all our form over the warman, equity real waters also force on the atlantic, but hurricanes also develop in the pacifics. ocean along the pacific rim and also into been called. the usually began as a cluster
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of thunderstorms and eventually9 take on a rotation at thata cen latitude. once ofev this rotation sustaint 39 miles per hour or greater ass we begin to organize around the central low-level circulation, its classified as a tropical storm. sustained winds have to be groeater andhour or it's classified as a tropical storm and then is given the name. once the winds go to 74 miles per hour or greater it isseate classified as a hurricane.y f names refer to back in 1953 to y help us keep track of eachweatha separate system but at that time, only the female names were used. the liguy's got jealous and ofl. course petitioned the nationally weather service and finally ins. 1970 the folks at the nationalis weather service listened and, an included male names as well so now we havea boy, girl, boy,ig l esrl. there's actually six to recycle through e there's a major hurricane just
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like a big athlete when a biganh athlete retires the number is retired and we had a majorth a hurricane like bob orie andrews the name is retired and then they go about a selectionsay process to come up with a new name. i have lots of school kidsr yo e-mail me anu?d say can you puty name on a list? [laughter] anyone want a hurricane named after you?organi know?the name [laughter]s a dubious honor. i the names are selected by the world meteorologicalt yr association, and the names kid reflect the different ethnic backgrounds impacted by theorga. hurricanes of the atlanticf curious, if you want your name there and you know a small kid that does right to thed organization the galvestonbas hurricane of course made it landfall before naming was even done.j so it is called basically named for the city that its devastated. the atlantic hurricane season began june 1st and will end at the end of november and we are coming up right now on our most active looking back at there a
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records over decades the most active time and it's usually around september 13th, so right1 now we are in a very activeca period were just coming up on it.basd the intensity of hurricanes. have you heard of the categoryd one and category to? they are given to the hurricanel based on the category scale fro one to five. five being catastrophic. and as the categorization ism se basically determined by the minimal pressure of the hurricane, the maximum sustained winds and also the storm surge the hurricane can produce so irh have a said biint of a piece i d back in 1986 when bertha was up the coasto which is everything i just said. it's very typical for the tv news and it isn't going to last much more than a minute so this is just about a minute long thin is what hurricanes are all about and the introduction is doneratf with oner of our anchors.
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it's the most colorful and 1991u were so what do these numbers mean for us?acte >> c2times but this ye >> the atlanticar hurricane seat here november 30th. if they are considered the most active times that this year the, the early with our eyes on birti of we are looking at the heart.d >> dvorkin sevi ten toenergy nef 20 million a orday and use then harness power it's all energy for six months. these powerful storms have a r group of thunderstorms crossed in the impleader on the oceanasv
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water the began to swirl and classify as the hurricane. ace wie strms over 300 miles wide and its rotated at the i thest. wind is susceptible light. her recant on the skill of oney to five.s it's basedi on the wind speed ad serge at the center of the storm and the category is catastrophic september 21st the forecast will call some by nightfall over 6009 people have lost their lives. today hurricane bob category ton ravishes as the worst in history.
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[inaudible]s east year several hundred miless south you see it's created ahawo dangerous riptides and oceans well.40's wh today there is a storm calledenf bertha thatied is tropical five. >> in the 1940's when hurricanes began they were identified by latitude and longitude. by 1953 they began to get female names.li now male namesk are often included. they are in cycles averaging out a boy, girl, boy, girl, and just like an athlete, when the hurricane makes its mark theef hurricane ike name is retired. and i >> i wanted to show the track of the galveston hurricane.rou i thought of the track that's
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developed august 27th of thethew trouble wave which is a typical round and across many of thet ou islands oferto the caribbean jut south of the virgin islands the south coast of puerto ricostem. ncross the extent of thesee -- a dominican republic and haitin than through cuba and it's just a tropical storm it wasn't aan major system but what we oftenht see and this has to do with thed warm water in the gulf of mexico once the system moves into thisc region and could undergo theama explosive rapid intensification and that is alwhat happened butr eventually became a category four hurricane which can create, damage that is almoststorm, catastrophic and surgeon the extreme and that is what we saw happening. - so there were signs that were told of the storm that because c of -- at the time the scienceic was not so sophisticated and there was also the high degreee of bureaucracy and scandal thatn existed in the weather bureau which of course is the national
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weather service it prevented people from acting on theeau inl initial warning signs.eas and the cubans knew that this waslly coming. issac cline come int charge oft the letter in the galveston hade documented the rising seas and the fans of the hurricane that the fault of the day was toa maintain calm and not alarm thee people. h if if. other than that would havech largely been blind to the of a magnitude also have brave people the flight into the heart of thf
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storm and a drop down into the storm to select the data and th fix the center of thetedictioene circulation which is verye important that the minimal senator pressure and when he.tye which helps us assess what the loackes maybe we. there is a pretty good degree oe the forecast track especially that first 24-hour per cow which is in the first forecast there's still a lot of gaps inll a oetermining the intensity of th hurricane and it's because a lot of the potion is modeled hesetha rar at least as t models at all. dear coupling underneath the hurricane just unsophisticated enough to be about to attach that rapid intensification nor do we have the networks. we don't see that. e that happening as nte
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it occurs and then we scrambleed to react to that.models whi one thing i wanted to show you is an interesting one of thesaty medium-range forecast models which shows 8 a.m. saturday morning and you will see this tl knot in the gulf of mexico.orm,t esis was passed through theintoh virgin islands. what the category one stormast moves into the very warm watersm along the island chain and booze into the gulf of mexico or atidn least toward the southern tip o. florida and what is remarkable and so ironic is that this isrm almost an identical track to thf
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galveston hurricane how bizarre is that. this was a wave of the aspen coast,n and now it is actuallyt taken a path a little bit north of the track of the galveston hurricane as well within reason it would move into the gulf ofte mexico sometime this weekend.es, initially the model has crossedi somewhere along florida and then began to curve across the southeastern united states but now it seems most of the modelse are taking an impact taking it. now into the gulf of mexico something that we will watch closely is quite ironic and in the anniversary of that is bl coming up. some being that you now know -- oneas more. being that you now know theiso weather channel i was able toe o get ame video from the tapend yn library, and this is from thomo edison who used his camera tocts capture some of the images fromt galveston ailnd you can see whac theo category four looks like.
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although they were not as to dates they are not strong structure even on this monitor. >> from the east the main part of the storm surge. we see it rising quickly and the waves became extremely large.it into the night saturday is when the storm surge began. >> in the pitch black darkness of the storm it was down the water level rise 20 feet trying desperately to stay above the surface. >> of the shore buildings were thrown under the force of the one-hundredth 30-mile per hourr winds with the twisting andight. shattering of the waves.trees.
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>> hurricane webster of course it was the middle of the night and it would have been dark. it was a disaster look up to thn devastation.ot f there were a lot of people therd and also they were flown in with each., it was attributed too the fact the access roads were cut off, a the storms so people could not evacuate but houses were coming around so many people drown as a result of the fact they couldn't get off the island. was >> but even a hurricane this --
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it's been a dealer a powerful lesson from what occurred in tht 1900 but in 1938 a similareen circumstance actually happened right here in new england. there were reports that there was a hurricane offshore but it had been 100 years since the b hurricane made landfall here in offsho new england, and the popular thought of the day that the th hurricane arced around the, hi offshore and followed theated favorable track and kept it outd at sea when in fact this storm,a this hurricane accelerated a directly iwnto southern newsea o england and people just like they did in galveston went out e to see the big waves and werends amazed by how awesome the scenet looked and the 600 people were washed out and still stands today as the greatest disastert. in new england history so thatoe is certainly a part of our locay history you think 38 years later the lessons would have been learned but theyhat are not. there is much more that we know about the atmosphere today thatf the same shortcomings that destroyed a life back in the 1900's int galveston still area. brought to bear on a forecast ot
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today.e, the confidence of the meteorologist and the dilemma of sounding the alarm.athe i know i've been there and it is difficult. the much less pronounced but still in existence i hate to sae but there is still a bit of bureaucracy in the government and the national weather service certainly has its own issues of the storm. you can oadevd that.eater so come on to the business of hs the light - line media large nickel steel.a as you might expect, erik larsen is a wider net and i read thisg on his biography online he adores thunderstorms, high wind, excessive rain, deep fog ande n home. my kind of man. [laughter] he's a contributor and editor to etime" magazine and has alsoh written for the new yorker andn harbors among many of theirsage"
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magazines. he's also the author of the naked consumer coming and lethat passage. his book was named the bestdy nonfiction book of 1999 byicane entertainment weekly. t this painstakingly researched novel is a compelling study of s the people of the day and at the anatomy of hurricanes. i am proud to say that his science is a well reasoned coming andll his passing prost deserve the integrity of the atmosphere at work to ther his scientifici community. the most compelling part of this tale is that and all the truth. i have heard nothing but praise for his book and i share that as well. let us welcome our guest of honor tonight, erik larson. [applause] >> after all that i think she has set about everything i'mly going to say, so i am just going to go home. [laughter]one >> thanks very much. r your check will be coming to you in the mail shortly. ok which of these is on?ken.
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bo this the one? they are both on?en can everybody hear me okay?yo i tend tou be quite soft-spokenr first thinks everybody forometin coming out. this is great. eqal rhen you come to a bookstore you can sometimes, and there's nobody there and it is a niceb isllo room. but nothing really equals thet - terrible thing that happened to the writer reading this book and about 25 chairs are set out because it didn't happen to me, you see. there were about 25 chairs and his talk was separated, but hesn is waiting, he's leading. it will close around. there's nobody up there.ver he's up there with a glass ofth water. finally, one woman comes in and she sits down and says in this o corner, like that guy we over there, this guy being fairly new he says look, why don't you come down to the front row to getarl down to the front row and we will have a private conversation. shen says well i might want to
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leave early. if that isn't a nightmare, i don't know what is. [laughter]tonight a what do you mean?a [laughter] i thought i would talk abo thema meteorology how one goes about one is coming up with an idea like this to begin with.erm i a.m not a meteorologist. i am a letter junkie.m iu wouldn't say nut that think o you for the term. i do watch the weather channel religiously much to the dismay of my children k. arnold, a ttorm watch.le an let's go. i'd like to dhaka little bit about this process.vest wherever i goon people want to know hown is it that i live innk seattle and wind up writing a book about the stormso that happened in galveston 100 years
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ago.s sa i guess the answer is i really don't know. it just sort of happened. it happens a lot.i set do it's a serendipity effect as i,a like to call it. rididn't set out to read aboutpe hurricanes i set out to read about error in the 1900 becausea i find that a very compelling period in american history.wil but i originally set out to do a book about a murder in new york of a fellow named william marsho rice.is a at this point he was living in manhattan. i will tell you a little bit about that story.e there was a hurricane connection cannot.m space lived in manhattan and they're came an unscrupulous period from houston and of course they were planning to kill mr. rice to poison him slowlyr with arson. along cameu a hurricane at this
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point and it as a hurricane, ii didn't know whatmu was the mothr of all hurricanes. i started reading and at this and the reason its nickname is murderer is because it damaged a lot of the galveston houston area and because of that all of his new york resources back tocr texas to reconstruct the planthm ahich would have meant there was nothing left to steal.time i hi so he accelerated the plot and gave him a dose of arsenic.as be in the first time in history itr has been directly implicated in the first degree homicide. [laughter] i started reading more of this routine and i've got to tell yoe when you look fore certain thins one of them is a compelling narrative ofm the art, and as, w much as i like the story as muc as i wanted to do the 1900ri murder, it wasn't so mysterious. but here was this hurricane. the more i read about it, then g more alluring it became for menn
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coming and i have not -- againu my in a letter junkie.le summer. in theup in long island cost of the belt and when i was a krrid hurricanes came in theod summer. but i do remember playing in the eyer of hurricane when i was alm kid. so i was pretty close to kind of enjoy hurricanes were the fault of hurricanes as long as someonf else's house or hotel or something. so s,m here was this hurricane n coming and i was looking througt the microfilm and the first thing i saw was something likerh 3,000 to 5,000 dead in thisude n hurricane. and i was instantly stunned. i knew nothing of the time and i have never heard of thisism at . magnitude striking in the united states and ig felt this as an overestimate. n overestimate.hs. it turned out to be a gross low so i estimate. in thse lowest was 6,000 dead.and e
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8,000 to 10,000 is actually a lot more accurate date so, i was instantly sort of drawn into bhis storm and i began reading more and more about it. i felt like my interest in this murder.it why don't we do something at, rt least withha this storm as it happened? the reason it was compelling tot me is losing about a hurricane come any storm, especially as a wonderful, dark, summerdha thunderstorms liked the fr- hurricane, when you think about it, it has a natural narrativef park and i felt that compellingy pitted against my far off place in the southern gathering forcet sort o f like the start to theri devotee is running into town, linking up from the gathering of the forces out there in the sean off of africa and you get the thunderstormsty over africa. then of course there is aud ad gradual increase of intensity and even better you have thundered and lightning and dark clouds gradually building wind.n finally the natural claim that
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you can ever hope to have whichl is the land fall, the stormound gradually on the shore.ded to t then you can get out as quickly as youhgr like. so, i found that very compellini to the murder faded to the backs i will leave and send you my notes. but i also result there was to something else i should addg about hurricanes that i found a very com freely also grew up on this coln war of science fiction with things like the, the giantm no behemotht and the crawling on. i am not the only one that sawai the crawling on? you have to admit it was on aamc like a month ago.me it scared the hell out of us.t,n
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one of the things i loved about those old movies was. those ofu the world sees the need to beat the strange things beginning to happen and they could be kindo f explained as human things but oy not really.emb they don't go down the basementr stairway. sese but i let that sense of history and it's like there's that wonderful sense of strangeness a hurricane. there's the old scienceme fictie movies in the first third and same.theca the same shrare of in the same car in the 1954 look-see with a lipstick light on top and he's getting out of the car looking down or what have you they weres not unique people.w?
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the blue and a toothpick from one side to the other nothing human. have we all benner?o [laughter]rslve there is that also it's that i kind of mystery it wasn't a disaster but. frankly i don't see it as a tor disaster but i don't even see it necessarily as a hurricane book is a portrait of the timew through the lens of storms if there's going to do this book wa with the server can as part of m would like to call the emotionar destruction.'s there were some books for example the night to rememberthe about the titanic sinking. how manyoo of you have read thec
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iohnstown flood? attact they are in excellent book to begin compelling when i think ir is the emotion because they are simply the stories and firsthand accounts but no one character os trio of characters movingso i through the book and you canto kind of hold hands and get toisi know, therefore when they becomt the place of care.ht i decided i was going to build. i wasn't goaring to do if i couldn't find the right. se so i set out to find the serendipity again took a hand. d issac cline was the weather mane from a 6 feet of galveston andms from texas coming and i named my book "isaac's storm" because asc was mentioned, people didn't begin naming storms the was an
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informal practice what the 19th century of naming storms after theire primary victim and metaphoric sense of the storm as the official storm of this year could get freaky to keep thath science fiction element in minde i had known about isaac cline from the beginning which he pal helped endorse and he had imself written down some paulas revere style to buy his ownow. leader some 12,000 people. it was packed.ite coming at the boston art and not somethingb that's happened in tu storm that happened in paulso ie revere's time ai wouldn'tisaac n necessarily right because it waw well known.t lok
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i'm not interesting i want to find characters with new ones hw and that with an iced dimond went working elsewhere.su of a two things happen when you read the serendipity with a gigantic mortgages moves you along. they were pleading information about the storm's abouttle abour hurricanes, and i wound up atd t this point before i moved to seattle years ago i was innicnd baltimore, and i wonder that this wonderful library, theock national oceanic atmospheric shared. wonderful little library to reat these intertek pocket librariese that you treasure. singlewe focus library. pele w ih should ask first how many people here are weather junkies and how many watch the weatherig
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channel? more people watch the weather channel. [laughter] thank you. how many people watch the weather channel when there is no stormis coming?rip my kind of people. muse this is the kind of place you go because it is fantastic it ise s like a museum.ndwritt it is not used by outsiders and things stand on the shelves that should be a museum. i es's where the point raises inev california for a wider net. i was looking for things the card catalogue indicated.catalo
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he was very lucky because suddenly on the one shelf therea was no reason for me to look at this and it was not in the card only catalog, there was about this call of a letter bumble theok i would hold like onean document, and i thought i've got time i will look inside.ts in i look inside and there was an article from the news.s li look who rode, its isaac cline. the hair on your neck stands upa for i read this and i wasientifw transfixed.clon is w isaac cline talks about the tropical cyclone, hurricane wasr an unscientific word, and it's w very active no tropical cyclone could do damage in the city.cleb an elaborate explanation would not really understand.
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he's getting himself an even se deeper that it wasn't onlydy impossible for any trouble cycling to do damage, anybodysu that bel ieves otherwise was the victim as he put. it's one of those moments where high anxiety of the mel brooks movie there'sin the scene wheree he's driving mel brooks to thedl institute for the very, veryhers nervous, you know, and they are onlkingni about sinister.g them they are carrying passes them on the highway. it's like tbhat is what is happening even in the library. y because suddenly the legendhis could be wrong to galveston ande to his own family. there is an old saying show me a hero and i will show you a tragedy.
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suddenly it was more nuanced and i began looking more and more into isaac cline. was a fundamental problem here was a guy that was literallywro, wvery written possession washed away in the summer of 1900.e th? everything. everything you know. everything heal ever rode. so how do you reconstruct a lifr with a guy like this? h there is the diary, everything. well, i don't have an answer like that.hatther no, you know, what happened then was a sort of -- there was aund mortgage, there was a book here oith my kids, teach a college education system, and i found myself growing more and more ton big places like the nationalncr archives. i finally breezed into thehis national archives which is
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another incredible place. i don't care if anybody has bee, there but it's like this modern glass thingy containing will woi to records, the administration records, the weather bureaut brn records, just a fabulous place if you can dealo with the description. it's one of the most amazing. using your pencils.hese you have to scratch things and you're own pad. it's a wonderful place. d and there can come in thesedocus documents, i just sat down t starting in 1880 and wentnot ex day-by-day. isaac cline began to emerge in a way just he was everywhere. i didn't realize he was such a big playwright.about saac so that really began to form th, central core of what i knew about isaac cline.th then there was a memoir by his
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brother. among the less they were therelb providing.there was ne then there were the inspectors and the bureau, him and so forth, so it really began to come alive. there was a particular moment that i knew that he could be my central character. there were still other characters.ather but this was where i can cross the national archives, theort v official report to the latterl y group on the as he could do it, but the sort of very dryon chemical story even though he maybe himself suffered this unbearabe cost. he described his afternoonr e wanted to race, 1900, media i will just kind of walk through that.here' try to picture this, shut your eyes and think about your own house.e abouta lunch time isaac cline figures there is nothing else t
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that he can do. it's about 1:00 and he started realizing the true magnitude of what the storm is bringing. i argue in the book he didn't really recognize it. the city is completely cut off, the telegraph lines are down from a telephone hotlines are se down. the railroad bridges and the og wagon knocked out by the samelo event on the same ship had been torn loose by high winds andt loan 20 miles inland by the we same. the city is completely cut off and nobody has left. everybody was there and thought ihis was something to celebrateo there were no warnings or lurricanesh signings, justoot si
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surprise. isaac cline is going home at this point, the wing to his to house that is five blocks from each.w it's on the 15-foot stilts and he builtv this house he believet to withstand anything.p to h we know he had in on the sense. by the time he gets home thehis water is up to his waist. in thg e house is his pregnant y wife, his three daughters and'so other people froinm the eighborhood that gathered. this is the weatherman's house. if anyone stands it is going to be isaac cline's. he goes down to his brothers ans an hour or so later the ftse is at a 15-foot level and the surge is coming just below and his t house is on 15 foot stultz.ut yo he manages to go up the frontown door and monitor the storm. seig
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shut your eyes and imagine your own neighborhood looking out the back door and seeing instead ofd the house but store shrubs andig so forth what you see is the open sea on the rooftop for that kind of thing plus the windber o and tiberi -- debri.sa as he is standing there at thei, door looking out, the sea risesr and this is not the time today he is coming in now and the sea rises.and i reized at when i thfirst read this i had a sort of the epiphany. i wao s on the train to washingn and i realized at the moment it
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read that dhaka, this is all sort of sympathy for isaac as a parent, but finca about what d that meant.n families living then, eight kids and in many cases the womenst remained at home and was asked e if he or anyone story house it is the moment between life and death there was nothing to clim. but the water continued to rise. it continued to rise until 25 feet. of the highest was 8.7.galvest you do the math for some unknown
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llriod of time they were under e the sea during the storm. ehat happened to isaac and his r family? i'm not going to tell you. que i will let yous read the book. but on that note what i thought i would do is stop and take>> iw quesotions. if anybody has any questions ir have a question for you. yes, sir.stonri >> [inaudible] a couple years ago, and how mucg -- it seems to be the major tourist attraction right now mei with the beaches and at theerce. naval base. i don't see much else going on.. everybody talked out the hurricane still and the chamber of commerce.er f you learn more spending a day n and taking the tour and you seee all of this residue which
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remains. if you spend a lot of time onhe the ground and learn much from r being there if galveston is unusual or unique, then theane. impact is this an francisco with the earthquake or even southlseg florida. miss degette was not a defining event because so much also stolen. he was eclipsed and destroyed soan much of the city there bysped beating houston to the north this competition. i spent a fair amount of time.r i looked down at least six times g lot of research in the library there. who has been to galveston? on event to galveston expecting something like charleston. li t
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what i was surprised that isuse when you go there in the heart c of the city today you can't get september 8th because somethinga fundamental changed. after the storm city built the daise sea level and then elevated thed entire city anywhere from 8 feet to 2 feet and raised thes mis cathedral if you can imaginetild that the whole city was an elevated. something very fundamental wasua missing.eption ws mi when you're an outsider that most i fundamental element of te perception was missing and thate is respect.d you couldn't get a sense of what he was seeing that morning because of the renovations that existed in 1u900.able when he walked out that morning he would have been able to seely
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some distance from his office hf would have been able to see the top of the highest coming in ane that really surprised me but it's also kind of liberating because then it forced me to really try to imagine cannot make up but imagine usingithsome historical documents and sources of that would have been likened nelt like to be in the city at>a that elevation with somethingor like this coming to the shore.fm that is a long answer to your question but there it is. >> are there any other memoirs or material from the survivors?e >> the only reason i was able to do this bookct is because the bd galveston archive. people didn't want to talk much. about this, of course they did want to write about it and, thee was wonderful and vivid a can fi detailed report. there were hundreds of them and you could find out what was right and what was wrong.ou mea?
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estimate it might have permeated all these people. >> in other words you said you p wanted to get through his mind when you look at what it was to like being on stilts on the drilling platform. spec very good, yes.yes, e of >> was there some sort of indication as to what other people felt when this was happening? >> one of the most strikingk, things is how much like us we think they all were thinking for their husbands and wives andd this kind of sense of care as the storm advanced for what va
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happened after the storm. some fragmented -- >> most of this was in thea middle of the night in the darkh >> the storm, yes.the compy o >> although there was an effort after the storm had begun people began putting candles and the windows of the had candles ifbef the windows had survived in the power of the wind. this was after the water. oou kind of picture it as if tht single white in the window it musthe have been people trying o say we are still here but also t we need.
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the accounts in the library aret terrific. interestingly that library hasrt very little on isaac cline. you have to go to the archivesok and the library and the library of congress. >> was there much photographic records to look at?pht >> are you asking me like therea are non photographs in my book?d [laughter] there are probably 4,000 photographs, some very striking. i actually use those as a firsthand resource its cosmic to look at and say we have sort ofi mining in one case for example i was astonished to find the ship that had cwome into the harbor survived the storm over the
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death largest and if they founde they had them. ability to bury them by the hundreds to ship them into the sea but this waso one of those barges with 900 corpses and i wasw looking at these -- i was looking at this through a magnifying glass and the ship that was in the photograph was the same that survived the seat. they were thnee guys whose accounts were in the story and it's one of those moments yet there they are these are therps. guys. here they are standing on about looking down into the largee.
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i di absolutely piled, just a bizarrh with tons of photographicoo. evidence. again my goal wasn't to write about the hurricane with theired book, it was to allow people tos sink into the period what timeth and then emerge from that period looking at photographs. and also don't really do it.. after they were pursued and thew bodies came back and the decision was made to burn the bodies in place in galveston, photographs of that show smoke coming off the top which isn'tin the experience o f people ineirg galveston, the people ins, galveston are walking out the back door, seeing them in this
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pile with their neighbors. that's how it was. g they spring up overnight so thei bodies could be burned in placee look out your back door and thef year in a spiral and then you have the 95% humidity, the scent that leader for the town like a blanket and human - siftingoffe through the sky. okay. coffee, tea come cheesecake. laughter could just kidding yesf ma'am. >> or you the model for the book cover? >> no, this is actually isaacm. cline. but i'm kind of pleased that yoe asked. taughter]have huicanes >> yes, ma'am.us.
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>> in seattle they don't havethr hurricanes there?sti've er ved w >> no, we do have exploding" mountains.g that is a plus. [laughter] i the place i lived there were signs that said tsunami warning zone but no.rnment i actually love to seattle, just perfect for me. >> did the federal government te have new procedures as a wonsequence of all of this?he te >> yes come isaac cline was the pr federal government and after the storm he became sort of all ofa, the interests which was medical climatology. he put all that aside and becaml one of the hurricane experts an was because of this storm andtog because of isaac cline, that wen now acknowledge today that the thing that kills in theomethig hurricane is wthe storm and actually the hurricanes were a
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danger on land. it's interesting it wasn't justo something that was acknowledged by the weather group in the 19tg century. hurricanes were the seaborne threat to the shipping concern.r in fact come interesting in thei archives after the storm left galveston and then regained, power to the point of time it reached michigan a 75-mile an hour wind and category in an hurricanes. by the time it crossed novaone scotia it had a 66-mile per houc wind. in this was a gigantic system. one poor guy had to be keepingpl company in the center ofi the country and he wrote the head oe the weather bureau and said it couldn't possibly have warned ug the wind was coming because myot
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company was destroyed.inl it jury smadi reply saying itaun isn't the practice of the weather bureau in land.clin [laughter]se the torm >> that said it all.taught was the attitude. you they were not a land threat, they were a shipping a threat buth it was isaac cline and theh storm that taught us otherwise and that is why they tell you the storm surge and this was the mother of all.g i argue in the book this was a category five, fairlyc pretentiouson to argue.and but the category for faced a pretty conservative criteria, and also [inaudible] beah? >> were there any animal heroes?
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>> there were snakes that with a spiral up into the trees. there was one of the more positive. i was actually true. the poisonous snakes seeking shelter in which they sought shelter already was a serious problem as it remains. they would come up but there was a charming story about somebody in a dresser that survive and that kind of thing. but people didn't spend a lot of time writing about animals that survived. estimate with all of the hurricanes that have come to shore in central america i find it hard to believe they didn't know hurricanes did across the